Former Eagle, Titan, Raider, Bills WR Art Powell deceased

Art Powell, a former Eagle and Raider wide receiver, is deceased. He was 78.

The reasons BSP remembers Art Powell has not a whole lot to do with playing of football on the field. Art Powell was a pioneer of sorts.

Art Powell played for the Eagles as a defensive back, but was released after refusing to stay in Norfolk, VA for a exhibition game. The black players were not allowed to stay in the same hotel as the white players.

After converting to wide receiver and playing for the Titans (now Jets), Powell signed with the Raiders. He and some teammates objected to playing an exhibition game in Mobile, AL where the stands were segregated. Raiders owner Al Davis moved the game to Oakland. Davis discussed moving the game:

I’m speaking as [a] man rather than their coach when I say I don’t blame them for what they believe. These are our players and our friends and we are sticking by them.”

Powell caught 50 touchdown passes for the Raiders, and ranks seventh in receiving all time for the team. He’s on the all time AFL Team.


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NBA West versus East: How Bad is it?

It’s time to talk about competitive imbalance, folks.

Sports media is pretty much located in the Northeast, or Southern California. In basketball’s case this is particularly true. The east coast media has a particular liking for good teams in the East. Well, that’s somewhat true for Atlanta. They love themselves Cleveland and Chicago. Cleveland because they have King James, and Chicago because “Jordan played there.” Show your reverence. In the West, they love the Warriors … for now.  Anyway, there’s been some talk about making the playoffs all 16 teams in a seeding contest, but sports media definitely does not want that. There would be no hope of playoffs in South Beach at the moment, so sportswriters and broadcasters would end up in places like Oklahoma City or Toronto for the playoffs.

But here’s what I’ve noticed. The East is junk. Not that junk, but garbage.

Take a look at the NBA standings. The Grizzlies, Rockets and Spurs are within a half-game of each other. One of them will probably finish 6th in the West. Those teams would be in second in the East, ahead of the vaunted Cavaliers. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Memphis is 19-10 against the East. Houston is 22-7. San Antonio is 23-7. Those teams dominated the East. Not even that tells the whole story.

Without the East, the Mavericks might not be in the playoffs. They are only 26-22 against the West, but 21-9 against the East. Phoenix, clearly out of the playoffs in the West would make the playoffs in the East. Not only that, comfortably in the playoffs. They are 21-28 against the West, but 18-12 against the East, a .600 winning percentage.

More story: The Thunder, unlikely to make the playoffs, are 20-9 against the East. They would be the 6th seed in the East on their record alone; their .689 winning percentage against the East would put them second overall. Even a team like The Lakers were substantially better against the East. They are 12-18 against the East, 8-40 against the West. They’ve won 4 more games against a conference they’ve played 18 fewer games against.

If it were a 16-team format, the West would thoroughly dominate the East. The Hawks would still be very good, but the rest of the conference falls even further back. The Cavaliers would be seventh overall. The Pelicans, Thunder and Suns would all make the playoffs. Cleveland would start its playoff run against the Raptors, a team in third in their conference. The Warriors, instead of getting a team with an MVP candidate in the first round, would face off against the Milwaukee Bucks.


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In the End, No one Cared

You’re going to hear about the ratings.

You’re going to hear about how exciting it was.

We’ll hear about how people watched because you love or hate Duke.

In the end, no one cared.

I’m watching my local news this morning, and they haven’t even mentioned that game. Why? Because everyone knew who was going to win. One way or another, Duke was going to win that game, as I noted in that post. That alone makes it uninteresting and unworthy of tuning into. It becomes like pro wrestling.

You know what America doesn’t like in its sports? Familiarity. They don’t like the same thing, over and over. I’m not talking about a fan of a team, like the Cowboys or Yankees. They’re different because they’re bandwagoners. They’re losers who want to be winners by living vicariously through their sports teams. While we have to credit Duke being a good team, I’m sorry. It’s suspect. 35 years and you have one player who goes bad? Only one? Apparently, Coach K recruits saints. A denomination of Christianity hasn’t recruited as well as Duke basketball has. It’s all about Coach K anyway. The guy was going to stay as long as he could to get all the accolades he could.

Dean Smith was also a saint. At least until we found out they were cheating too. It’s kind of funny, when we finally find out what goes on in that program, they’ll get barbecued, but no one will ask why it took so long.

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Despair, thy name is Wisconsin – Duke

Did you see Kentucky lose to Wisconsin last night? That is absolutely not what I wanted to happen.

Awful, terrible, horrible.

Here’ what BSP’s fantasy was: Kentucky beats Wisconsin, plays and annihilates Duke to go 40-0.

Here’s what BSP’s nightmare is: Wisconsin beats Kentucky, and gets hammered by Duke.

Frankly, Wisconsin got some help from officials. It’s not the kind of help you’re going to get against Duke. Which means the Badgers are dead in the water.

They are not going to beat Duke, and then we’ll be bombarded with the likes of ESPN, Mike Greenberg and Dan Patrick heaping praise on the Blue Devils and their godlike creature Coach K.

I’m only interested in what happens with Coach K after he’s out of there. BSP believes coaches who stick around for 30-40 years start to think more about themselves and their legacy than their teams and the players that play for them. It’s kind of what Paterno did at Penn State. I want to find out the dirt on Duke and how much stuff they’ve covered up since he’s been there.I just think it’s interesting Coach K went into shut-up mode after they dismissed Rasheed Sulaimon from that team. As in “media, shut-up and stop asking me questions.” You know what? They did. If John Calipari (a known rule violator) did that, he’d get barbecued.

Do I really believe the media wouldn’t expose Coach K for being a hypocrite? Of course. No one wants their hero to turn out to be a jerk, and the way they worship that guy would mean he made fools out of them. Sports media doesn’t like to be made a fool out of. Sports media likes feel-good douche stuff they can yell about.

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The Future of Marketing

The Washington Post did a story on how a former WWE ring announcer sought out a child fan and found he had cancer. WWE not only got the child meetings with his favorite wrestler, but actually inducted the child, Connor “The Crusher” Michalek into its Hall-of-Fame. The ring announcer states WWE’s motivations in touting its relationship with the child were less than pure:

Stephanie McMahon of World Wide Entertainment (WWE) claims the future of marketing is in philanthropy:

You know, we’re not terrible with this. They used the child’s predicament to enhance their brand image, but you know, they didn’t have to do anything. They made the child, who is since deceased, happy.

Isn’t that the bottom line?

Do we really think that people like William Gates aren’t thinking they are creating future consumers of their products … or future talent for their corporations … when they take part in philanthropic actions? I’m not bad with that. It’s better than a company that does nothing for anyone and claims anyone who doesn’t like it isn’t a capitalist.

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Mike Tirico

I’m listening to this Mike Tirico from ABC/ESPN and I’m thinking is this guy biased or just totally ignorant of reality?

We just saw a bogus call in this Houston – Oklahoma City game, and Tirico’s pretending it didn’t happen, despite the replays. The fans are booing, and Tirico and Hubie Brown just talk over it. It goes against ESPN’s best interests which are influencing you to believe bad calls don’t matter.

We’ve mentioned this guy before and some of you don’t like it. Mike Tirico’s as big a company man as I’ve ever seen. He’s never noted a bad call ever.

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There’s Something Happening Here

Tonight, the Spurs pummeled the Orlando Magic 103-91, sweeping a two game back to back road trip. The game was done early in he 3rd quarter. The San Antonio Spurs are surging. How’s that, BSP? The Spurs have won 9 of their last 12 games. That only tells part of the story:

– the three games San Antonio lost were by a combined 14 points. San Antonio is 17 points away from a 12-game winning streak.

– the nine games San Antonio won, they won them by double digits

Tim Suncan played 12 minutes. Tony Parker played 22. Kawhi Leonard played 20 and Manu played 17. Cory Joseph led the team with 26 minutes. Boris Diaw scored 11 points. Whenever Boris Diaw is going well, the Spurs are going to be tough.

The Spurs have won 49 games this year. If they win 50, they will have won that many for 16 straight seasons, including a strike-shortened season. 

If I were the rest of the Western Conference, I’d be concerned. This is not good news. BSP suspects the Spurs are not going to be an easy knockout in the playoffs. 

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